Hypercholesterolemia in rats fed cholesterol in agar gel diets

John W. Erdman, Thomas C. O'Reilly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Female (Exp. I) or male (Exp. II) weanling rats were fed diets containing either 2% Solka-Floc or 2% agar for 28-day periods. Some groups received 1% cholesterol, either added in crystalline form or first dispersed in the oil portion of the diet, and some agar groups received their diet in a gelled form. Feces were collected for a 3-day period after 2 weeks (Exp. II) or during the fourth week (Exp. I) of experimentation. Serum and liver cholesterol, total liver lipids, fecal lipids, and fecal sterols were determined. The results indicated that cholesterol feeding increased serum cholesterol, total liver, and fecal lipids, liver cholesterol, and fecal sterols. Substitution of agar for Solka-Floc in dry (nongelled) diets further increased total liver lipids (Exp. I), but had no significant effect upon any other measured parameter. Gelling of 1% cholesterol agar diets, in contrast to the 1% cholesterol dry agar diet, resulted in reduced liver cholesterol in both experiments. Gelling significantly increased fecal sterols after 2 weeks feeding (Exp. II), but no significant differences were observed after 4 weeks feeding (Exp. I) when compared to 1% cholesterol-fed groups. Small, nonsignificant increases of liver cholesterol and total liver lipids with similar reduction of fecal sterols resulted from dispersing the cholesterol in the oil portion of the diet prior to mixing. The results indicate that (a) inclusion of 2% agar in rat diets and (b) dispersing cholesterol in oil had little effect upon serum, liver, or fecal lipids in cholesterol-fed rats. However, gelling the agar diets reduced liver cholesterol, possibly by initial reduction of dietary cholesterol absorption.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)588-593
Number of pages6
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1978

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Cell Biology


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